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White House Chronicles

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Us 7, Rupert Murdoch 6, Murdoch 5, Britain 4, Washington 4, Grover Norquist 4, London 3, Sirius 2, Samuel Youngman 2, Tim Farley 2, England 2, Llewellyn 1, Twain 1, Gasparello 1, Obama 1, Mark Twain 1, Llewellyn King 1, Cnn 1, Eric 1, Sonde 1,
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  WETA    White House Chronicles    News/Business. Wisdom  
   and wit from leaders.  

    July 24, 2011
    9:00 - 9:30am EDT  

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>> hello, i am llewellyn king, the host of "white house chronicle." mark twain, the humorist said, and i misquote him somewhat -- nobody would ever dare to play the fiddle on the public stage without some prior instruction in debt instruments -- in that
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instrument. but he said, writing was different. i have come to the conclusion that riding does not really matter. everybody does it, some people do it well. the only problem is that some of this read it badly. now everyone is an economist, and with the recent troubles on capitol hill, we have produced 500 economists. anybody with knowledge of economics, contradictory knowledge. now hesitation in building national policy on that little bit of knowledge. i wish they would get a bill to do that instead. i am sure if mark twain thought all of these instantly minted economists, he may not have remained a humorist. i will be back with a wonderful panel to discuss these great
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issues, including the proliferation of pseudo- economists. >> "white house chronicle"is produced in collaboration with -- and now, "white house chronicle" with flu and king -- llewellyn king and a linda gasparello. >> thank you for coming along. i promised you a great panel, and here they are for you. samuel youngman, of "the hill" the newspape newspaper.
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tim farley, the program director of series xm radio. -- sirius xm radio. welcome to the broadcast. and you are also foolish enough to indulge me on friday, we tried to do a wrap up of the week. >> thank you for the return indulgence. >> i saw you early in the morning on cnn, looking extraordinary chipper. it was well before 6:00. and of course, linda gasparello. look at what we have here. this is an historic thing. this is the last edition of the infamous, famous, notorious, "news of the world."
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known in britain as "news of the screws." it is the first time in a scandal that i have seen this inanimate object, this paper, punished. the people have not yet been punished, but the paper has, and the journalists are also the factor being punished. you can see immediately that this is not "the new york times ." it is flashy, full of enormously creative topography, and full of short-clad females. this is not the kind of thing that you see in "the washington post."
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when i was in newspapers, we used to do these mock issues. what if they had gone out and hit the loading dock? >> today, with the internet, that can happen. >> what were people looking for when they picked up this newspaper? >> much more of what we do in delivered a culture, it is a sort of envy, living vicariously. if i was only living in that said, went to those parties, dressed like that. "news of the world" started covering court cases. they did it in a very traditional, matter of fact way. the headlines were quite famous in their own right. you would pick this up knowing
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that you were getting a sex story, but you would not get much sex. a soldier appearing in court yesterday pleaded guilty to an offense which was alleged to occur with a young nurse. the private said that when he had met her on a bench, he placed his hand in appropriately upon her. and it went on like that. that is what "news of the world" was about. it was this mild titillation. then it was the murdoch era. things were changing. stratified english society was breaking down, and bang, we have that. there you are.
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is this going to do us any damage? rupert murdoch, this scandal? >> aside from the scandal, i killed that for the journalists. if, and when, the other shoe drops on the side of the ocean, eric holder's justice department is considering subpoenas. i do not think it will be as fun and dramatic as what we have seen out of london, but i do think there is another shoe to drop here. >> i think it has sort of appalled people how close we get to our sources. in england, this was out of control, where the government was being run by a news organization. politicians were terrified of the murdoch operation. some of my friends work for him and i know something about it. they took it for granted that
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they would go over to downing street to talk to the prime minister. you are never going to be able to pop into the oval office and tell the president what he should do. >> i will never be accused of being too cozy with the president. part of this story is who is covered which aspects of the story? part of it is about rupert murdoch. part of it is about "news of the world." part of it is about journalism. as a result of that, we have an imbalance, people paying too much attention to one part of the story. of course, rupert murdoch has an interest in fox news and "the wall street journal" and there are people who could be enemies of those mediums that could have a problem with it. >> we have another issue, the extent to which conservative
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politicians tend to dow to fox -- bow to fox. i found a similar thing is happening with members of congress. they worry if it is not ratified fox, will they come after them and cause damage to their career? fox commentators, we should say. >> fox does not have quite the reach that the murdoch newspapers have in britain. those are national, important papers for politicians. the fox broadcasting is important for a certain number of politicians, but not everyone. the other thing, much is being made about the fact that murdoch has contributed to political campaigns. well, yeah. again, i think the blow back here is -- >> it is not as concentrated.
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in britain, newspapers are more like television. the numbers of circulars sold week to week it is huge. that is not true here. >> the one thing i have not been able to shake is how much different would this scandal have been treated if bush was still in power? think about how much fox news has been marginalized by the obama revolution. msnbc is now the go-to network. it is in all the tvs in the west wing. fox is not as powerful as it was -- not that it is not powerful -- but not as much as with the bush administration. just in terms of the perception of what is the go-to network for the administration. >> before we get off of this, i
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have often been a critic of rupert murdoch. i have also seen him do extraordinary things. innovative, different. everyone said you could not have a news network. >> i think your column was especially interesting. the idea that rupert murdoch had taken on the unions in england, and that is how he got his empire started. what also wound up being his downfall was also the downfall of the unions. >> something else happens with power. they become sociopaths, in a way. they do not like society. they begin to despise the people who keep them going. >> it is hard to find the enlightened despotism that we had sought for so long to run the world. >> the unions were out of
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control. i worked in london. you could not touch a key on a computer without there being a strike. the unions wanted no new technology. if anything looked like new technology, and they wanted to control it. i had an editorial driver who used to drive me. i asked him something once and he said, of course, i am sonde on to two other newspapers. byaid, you're getting paid three different newspapers? it was pretty correct. -- corrupt. later on, some of that same corruption, arrogance, came into "news of the world," news corp., and have largely brought the operation down in britain.
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>> you also said that unions would censored stories. >> yes, it got to a point where if they did not like the news, they would not print it. they were communist-driven. it was out of control. murdoch had incredible debts printing these things in secret, way down in the london. he secretly hired workers and then move. basically, if you do not do want it done,y i and we will just move. unions were regarded very highly by politicians. >> carderock for president? >> i doubt it. -- murdoch for president?
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>> a lesson for all bus. mr. farley, if you are successful beyond our wildest dreams, do not become jaded. it will be a hard landing. sam, a question. has something gone terribly wrong with political thinking? have we lost, in the congress, a sense of decorum? >> yes, but about a decade ago, but it has happened. what makes it worse right now is we are talking about something that is quite routine, in terms of raising the debt ceiling, and b, the fights that we are having now, everyone is so dug in.
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the concept of statesmanship, compromise. they are seen as witnesses, not strength, as they used to be. >> but it is the government we have. >> i forget who said it. people get the government they deserve. i am not sure that we deserve quite this level of dysfunction. what i have learned in the past few days, after two days of battling, things have gone quiet at the white house and the hill. that is good news. we may not be close to a deal, but we are getting closer. >> what will happen after? are we going to go on like this? i am an old timer. things would be solved over drinks.
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there was a famous chairman of the science committee that started at 11:00 a.m. if you did not have a drink, you were out the door. >> we were talking about the press, the way it is moving. we are in a perpetual campaign. there is always something ahead of us that people are looking at. number two, we have several news cycles in the day. it is the news throughout the day. you have the morning, afternoon, and then the prime time. as a result, everything is examined. everything becomes a major news story for development. everyone is trying to beat each other on a news group. that is not new or bad. that generates interest in
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coverage. however, sometimes, that does not a lawyer that moment to step back. how often have we seen history is not what we see today? it is the gradual unfolding of time. sometimes we get so lost in the now, we sometimes forget there are consequences behind that. >> any time i see a newspaper doing a really good, thorough job -- going back to rupert murdoch -- they had the resources and time, 18 months, to do the work, to do the investigation. in the 24 hour news cycle, we can only said what people said, what little snippet they've released. >> to me, the concern is not whether there are good journalists out there. there are plenty of people still doing good work. there are too many places where people can go to read only what
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they want to read to reinforce what they already believe. there is no honest broker. you could go your whole life believing the world is flat because there is plenty of stuff on the internet to reinforce what you need to hear. >> and if they believe that the wrong information, which is not correct, they will be constantly attacking the opposition. there are people who believe that we should get an e-mail at 4:00 every afternoon to tell us what we should be writing and we should think. >> there is also a sense of false equivalency on the internet. unless you know what "the washington post" or "the hill"or any other certified newspaper,
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that is different from someone from sheboygan working on their blog. however, both can look good on the internet. there may be a different input into the construction of that story. >> in the mainstream newspapers, we have some presumption. sirius people have tried to suggest what they think is important. i have a neighbor who is highly intelligent, spends time on the internet, is a bit of a hermit. >> not surprise that those two are in the same sentence. >> he is somebody who believes some of the most outrageous things, because he has read them on the internet, and has never
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learned to differentiate disinformation from information. it has a disturbing effect on society. >> back to the subject of the political drama of the day, which is actually very sad, playing out before us. it should have been a one-act play. now is a shakespearean drama. greek maybe. a long one. the sad thing is, you have two people who look like they would like to compromise. the president and john boehner. what is keeping them from doing that is the fact they have people who have taken pledges. whether it is grover norquist's
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not to raise taxes, the democrat's pledged not to cut medicare, social security. it is a sad thing for me to see that we have got politicians who have forgotten their own oath, pledge to us, but they are so conscious of what they are pledging to. other people who have entered into this, like grover norquist. whoet's tell the viewers note grover norquist is. he has been on this program. most journalists in washington know him. he is an interesting carrier -- individual. he runs americans for tax reform. basically, no taxing is good. we will shrink the government by starving it and eventually it will weather. somehow, he had managed to persuade an entire political
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party that this is statesmanship. >> he has also noted recently, to allow a tax cut to expire is not the same as raising taxes, which is a bit of a parsing of his phraseology. he tried to walk back from that. >> i think grover norquist was somebody who was suddenly frightened by his own success. >> to your point, linda, one thing that has switched, not necessarily an abrogation of responsibility by those elected, but their primary purpose, once elected, is to get reelected. you are fundraising, you have to get out in front of people, get the issues out there in a way that reminds them of representing them. they are in washington all the time now, so they want to create a personal relationship. in addition, they are being followed around by people who are trying to catch all of their
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missteps. we have already seen this in the 2012 presidential campaign. when that is happening, it is hard to get serious about the business of governing when all you are doing is busy about campaigning. >> not only that, but this embrace of misinformation is spreading to congress. how many members from congress are you hearing that the default is not that bad? i struggle to believe that. >> do you think that they believe that? >> i think it is largely political but you have some freshman caucus members who want to burn down this village rather than save. i am stunned when i see the percentage of people out there who are not aware that by raising the debt ceiling we are not spending the money. people do not realize this money has already been spent.
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that is when this kind of information becomes dangerous. when and brings government to a halt. in an instance like this, the ramifications are terrifying. >> is it our fault, in any way, as journalists? >> your fault, not mine. >> i had a feeling. i am feeling guilty. takeover my responsibility. >> maybe we are at fault. a more partisan media. >> in a way, the 24 hour news cycle is ours. i do wonder why there are people sitting next to each other in the white house briefing room. i have seen people doing this as the person is briefing. what kind of information is that? this is short hand, instant.
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this is not journalism, yet, i have had people on the program say they would rather get the absolute, up to the second -- but this is a narcotic attachment to news. >> i also watch many of the live event. those things are available to people. part of it depends on a motivated public. if democracy is the worst form of government, with the exception of all others, as winston churchill said, it relies on an educated and motivated public. we have to do our best. as opposed to just believing what the polls say, at times, as a congressman or president, you may have to go against the poles and do what you think is right, as opposed to the politically correct thing to do. >> i think the decent thing for
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us would be to start to get out. therefore, i'm going to ask samuel youngman for his high note and a low note. >> my high note was also president obama's when he came to the briefing room. he looked gideon that we might have a deal coming from the gang of six. that was the first time that we any movement. unfortunately, we could be back to square one. >> am i right that he does better in the briefing room than in the big, formal set up? tim farley, the director of programming at sirius xm radio. >> high notes of recent history, the space shuttle atlantis. the completion of yet another mission, sts 135.
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that is also my low note of the week because it marks the conclusion of a successful mission. now we are left in limbo, wondering what commonality, great mission we can be on where democrats and republicans can be united. >> low note. the news reports from somalia are so sad. i hope that we can provide some relief. >> i have won a low note. the producer of our lovely program for the last six years is leaving to return to her native sweden. we will miss her enormously. she also works at the white house, working for a radio outfit. i am sure all of us will miss her tremendously. >> skol! >> that is our show.
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we will get it done the best weekend. cheers. >> "white house chronicle"is produced in collaboration with --
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